Last night I went to the first of what will be a monthly series of art by "Pop-up Studio," a group of artists who are able to do their work in part thanks to a grant from the Lackawanna County Arts & Cultural Department. The first event was entitled, “Sugar: A Borrowed … Landscape” constructed at the Connell Building, in retail space no. 2.

I attended last night knowing nothing other than location and time. I wasn't sure what to expect. When I arrived and was greeted by Valerie Kiser she asked if I brought my sugar. People were apparently encouraged to bring a cup of sugar. I didn't know this but I was still able to enter and enjoy the art. Brown cardboard boxes of all sizes were stacked, taped together. The center piece in the room was "The Machine" which was also made of boxes and was a container in which people could pour their sugar. There was another box next to it named "The Pit." On top of the box was a lot of sugar and even some sugar cubes that someone brought. People played with the sugar and added to it as the night went on. Then there was a little doorway into another area of more boxes. Some of the boxes had white string lights in them and I personally loved that. I'm a big fan of lights like that. In fact, this year at Christmas time I strung white lights in my kitchen under cabinets and on my windowsill in a clear mason jar and under beautiful vanGogh vodka bottles (empty now of course) to light up the gorgeous artwork of vanGogh that's in every bottle. I enjoy the look of the lights so much that I'm going to keep them up all year. So I really liked seeing boxes being used as a decorative source of light. In fact, I was so inspired by the look that I'm cutting up some boxes I have and plan to copy the idea and put string lights in them. I think it's a nice alternative to a table lamp.

In this second "room" there were black Sharpies for people to pick up and use to create their own graffiti or art on the boxes. Of course I decided to write a few things. As a one-woman band, I'm always looking for creative ways to promote what I do so of course I had to write "Laugh to Live" with a smiley face and put my website and I attempted to draw a frog but it turned out to look more like an owl with elephant trunks for arms. So then I drew a wine glass and wrote "Keep Wine-ing He Might Start To Look Like Prince Charming" - the name of my current comedy tour of wineries (was that too much? should I be embarrassed that I plugged my own art?). And across the room on another box I drew a smiley face and created hair with a series of "Ho ho hos and Ha ha ha's and Hee hee hees" - a reference to the laughter yoga exercises I do :-)  Hey, if people smile and laugh then that's good for us all, right?!!  There was tea and coffee set up on boxes and then there was a little seat tucked in the boxes on one side that was like a bathroom or seat in a telephone booth - cozy and beckoning for people to draw, sit, relax. Bubble wrap hung to create a makeshift ceiling.

It was fun to walk around and wonder about the meaning of the art and if anything else was going to happen. Art is subjective so I'm sure opinions and impressions of this first Pop-Up Studio varied from person to person. Everyone there seemed to be having fun and interacting and that's what these events are all about. I was very happy to see a nice size crowd in attendance on a cold night in downtown Scranton. For me, the best parts of this event/display/artwork (not sure what to call it which is actually a cool thing - because it's different, fresh) were the encouragement and permission (that we seem to need as adults) to be playful by: doodling on boxes with the Sharpies, crawling under or in boxes and playing with the sugar; and the community aspect. People were talking. Some talked about the art and others just chatted. Anything that helps us think differently, come together and communicate is a great thing. I had fun and I look forward to seeing what Pop Ups next month!!

After about 40 minutes or so enjoying the vibe of the Pop Up, my friend Tony and I headed over to Jack's Draft House in the East section of Scranton for drinks and snacks where talk of art continued. The best part of the evening was that I got to take home my own art. Tony gave me my Christmas present - a watercolor he did for me of the Eiffel Tower. I absolutely love it. It's full of life and color! It's the Eiffel Tower, how could I ever not love it! And it was created just for me. There's no better art or gift than that. Sweet, like sugar.

  For more information on Pop-Up Studio, visit

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